Drover by Neridah McMullin, illustrated by Sarah Anthony
Edna Jessop was Australia’s first female boss drover. In 1950, she took 1600 head of cattle from Western Australia to Queensland. For six months, they travelled through harsh country over a distance of 2240 kilometres.
A Narrative Non-Fiction Picture Book
Edna, referred to as Drover in the book, faced many dangers. The heat, the choking dust, flies, thirsty cattle and a lack of water. This always meant there was a risk of a stampede. But Edna knew how to handle cattle, and she knew the outback like the back of her hand.
She let the cattle graze as they walked, and never rushed them. She always planned, strategically seeking out water and sheltered places for them to rest. She cared and nurtured them. She loved her horse dearly, trusting it with her very life on more than one occasion.
Breaking Down Stereotypes
This book tells the story of this remarkable Australian in a time before technology. Edna could do the work any male drover could do. As she puts it, “If you’re good at your job, it doesn’t matter out there.”
Throughout the story, the author references all sorts of aspects of the drover’s life and their incredible skills—from the Bagman’s Gazette to milling cattle.
This is a book about our Australian past. About the people who opened up the land and shows the wonderful heritage and legacy of droving in Australia.
Author: Neridah McMullin
Illustrator: Sarah Anthony
Publisher: Walker Books, 2021
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